Bernasconi M., Dardanoni V. (2004).

An experimental analysis of social mobility comparisons. In Cowell F., Research on Economic Inequality, vol. 11, Elsevier Ltd, pp. 55-84



Social mobility is an issue at the crossroad of various disciplines: sociology, statistics, political science and economics. We review alternative approaches to the analysis of intergenerational income mobility, and conduct a questionnaire aimed to reveal students’ opinions on some basic principles developed in the literature. The questionnaire includes questions focussed on: (a) the difference between structural and exchange mobility; (b) the decomposition of mobility tables into parameters linked to structural mobility and parameters linked to exchange mobility; (c) the effects of transformations of the status variables (incomes) on mobility comparisons. These issues have been formalized as hypotheses that can be formally tested by the questionnaire. We find various regularities in the data, but also some rejections of basic principles that require further scrutiny.